Nil By Mouth (NBM) and City of Glasgow College (C.G.C) have been working in partnership since 2014 on a range of programmes focusing on diversity, equality and excellence.  The College’s innovative approach to teaching and learning has supported NBM in its aim of tackling sectarianism and ongoing collaboration with staff and students promotes the elimination of sectarian attitudes and behaviours in Scotland.

Key to the success of this partnership is ‘Pitch Perfect’, a competition which provides students the opportunity to create and design their very own public awareness campaign aimed at tackling sectarianism in Scotland, first piloted in 2015.  All Advertising and Public Relations HND Students participated as a requirement of their SQA Higher National Unit: Advertising: Researching and Planning a Local Campaign.

The competition provides students with a unique opportunity to take a campaign from the drawing board to full production and the chance to pitch both themselves, and their ideas, to industry leaders. Those involved can opt to use cutting edge technologies or more traditional methods of advertising but ultimately must produce a campaign which stimulates and generates interest in Nil by Mouth and the issue of sectarianism.  The standard of entries in 2015 was so high that a runner up ‘Pause B4 U Post’ was chosen as well as the overall winning campaign – ‘Kiss Bigotry Goodbye.  Both entries have since been adopted by Nil by Mouth as official campaigns.

Kiss Bigotry Goodbye:  The first stage of the campaign focused on social media use and sought to provide football fans with a platform to highlight the positive aspects of the Scottish game using the hashtag #KissBigotryGoodbye. To date thousands of photos have been uploaded on social media sites from fans and students right across the country. High profile support was diverse from the likes of the Moderator of the Church of Scotland to Partick Thistle Mascot, Kingsley. The campaign was recognised at the Scottish Parliament with more than 30 MSPs from across the political spectrum signing a motion praising it. #KBG received significant coverage in the media with BBC Scotland, STV, Sky Sports News, Evening Times, Scotsman, The National and numerous local radio and news outlets covering it.  The college has also embraced the campaign by displaying images from it across all campuses on digital media boards, their intranet and by displaying large banners across its campuses.

The 2016 winner, Don’t Be a Clown aims to encourage people to think about their language and the line between ‘banter’ and ‘bigotry’.  Students scripted and produced an animation showing two men morphing into clowns as they use sectarian language in a pub.  The animation has been adopted as part of NBM’s nationwide Beyond Religion & Belief workplace training programme which has been delivered to more than 10,000 staff across 95 workplaces since 2012 including FTSE 100 companies and Staff and Students from City of Glasgow College.

Students pitch their concepts to the judging panel

Nil by Mouth Engagement Officer, Emma Alexander said:
Our Pitch Perfect’ collaboration with City of Glasgow College has been one of the most beneficial and rewarding partnerships we have ever had. The students and lecturers have vast amounts of imagination, commitment and creativity and have created several campaigns for us, attracting huge media interest, award nominations (The Herald Higher Education Awards – Campaign of the Year) and support from both the Scottish Parliament and Government. Not only has it given the students valuable experience of pitching to clients and securing contracts but they also gain academic qualifications from taking part. All thanks to the ‘can do’ attitude which makes City of Glasgow College such a special place.’

For the last 6 years C.G.C has run an ‘Embracing Diversity Competition’ which aims to find the most effective expression of the “embracing diversity” theme.  Having been invited by the college to judge the competition it is clear to NBM that it successfully encourages staff and students to creatively consider and communicate; Fairness, Opportunity, Respect and to consider what ED&I means to them.  The diversity competition and collaboration between NBM and C.G.C was highlighted as good practice to Education Scotland during their 2016 inspection at which they were awarded ‘effective’ status.  This judgement means that…’in relation to quality assurance and enhancement, the college is led well, has sufficiently robust arrangements to address any identified minor weaknesses, and is likely to continue to improve the quality of its services for learners and other stakeholders.’

The alliance between NBM and C.G.C has presented students with enterprising opportunities outside of their prescribed course work.  One student delivered a presentation to over 100 secondary pupils at Young Enterprise Scotland’s first ever ‘Festival of Youth Enterprise’.  Another was asked to address NQ/Access Students to provide them with information about the Advertising & PR course.  A number of enthusiastic students have had the opportunity to speak on the radio, appear on television and to present to audiences in external venues such as the Blythswood Square Hotel.

Every year NBM is invited to host a stall at the Colleges’ Fresher event, where students are provided with lots of information and can experience numerous types of entertainment – launching them straight into student life!  The Student’s Association has been supportive of the work being done by NBM and plays an active role in the colleges’ Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Advisory and Engagement Group which comprises of representatives of external equality groups, key senior teaching and support staff, together with student representation.  In conjunction with the College ED&I Team they have held Spotlight events in the Students’ Association Common Room, with representation from relevant equality charities.

Educational institutions play a vital role in advancing the work being done to strengthen communities and in developing the new generation of socially responsible leaders who will hopefully rid our country of the blight that is sectarianism.  With continued joint work planned between NBM and City of Glasgow College the future looks bright.


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